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Motion of electrons in orbitals and shape of orbitals 
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#1
Aug911, 09:49 AM

P: 58

Why don't electrons move only along the surface of orbitals?
Moreover, how do electrons move within orbitals, random movement or do they follow a definite path? In a porbital, does one lobe consist of only one electron? Why is the porbital dumbbell shaped and not spherical? 


#2
Aug911, 02:26 PM

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P: 3,464

The true physical reality of atoms is described by Quantum Mechanics.
The concepts of position and momentum are different in quantum mechanics. Think of the position as being spread out in space. (Not technically true, but its a good way to describe it). So the electron doesn't go round in a specific path. If you've seen a picture of the porbital, it likely represents a single electron, with a particular magnetic quantum number. If you average over all possible magnetic quantum numbers, then the porbital is spherical. 


#3
Aug1011, 06:01 AM

P: 58




#4
Aug1011, 11:34 AM

P: 485

Motion of electrons in orbitals and shape of orbitals
Strictly speaking, an orbital is a oneelectron wavefunction. To (over)simplify the discussion, an electron in a p orbital has nonzero angular momentum. When one works through the math for this case, you get the dumbbelllooking electron density. 


#5
Aug1011, 02:18 PM

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#6
Mar1212, 09:54 AM

P: 14

"If you average over all possible magnetic quantum numbers, then the porbital is spherical".
Surely for a porbital with an orbital angular momentum quantum number of 1 the wavefunction describes a dumbell shape. In order for the wavefunction to descibe a spherical orbital the orbital angular momentum quantum number must be 0. If a porbital were indeed spherical almost all of the chemistry associated with multiple bonds would be difficult to explain. 


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